In a circular economy, resources are kept in use for as long as possible, and waste is minimized by using materials and products in closed loops, where they are continually repurposed, reused, and recycled.
The concept of a circular economy has been around for awhile, but it gained wider recognition and attention in the 21st century.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a UK-based nonprofit organization established in 2010, has played a significant role in promoting and developing the concept of the circular economy. The foundation was founded by Ellen MacArthur, a former professional sailor who became interested in the circular economy concept after witnessing firsthand the finite nature of resources during her ocean voyages.
The circular economy model is based on three principles:
Designing out waste and pollution
Products and materials are designed to be reused, repaired, or recycled, with minimal waste or pollution.
Keeping products and materials in use
Resources are kept in use for as long as possible, through strategies like reuse, repair, refurbishment, and recycling.
Regenerating natural systems
The circular economy seeks to regenerate natural systems by supporting renewable energy, regenerative agriculture, and other sustainable practices.
The circular economy represents a departure from the traditional linear economy model, which is based on a “take-make-dispose” approach, where resources are extracted, processed, and ultimately discarded as waste.
By contrast, the circular economy seeks to create closed loops, where materials and products are continually repurposed and reused, with minimal waste and pollution.
The circular economy has gained attention in recent years as a means of addressing the growing challenges of resource depletion, waste generation, and climate change.
By keeping resources in use for longer and minimizing waste, the circular economy can help to reduce the environmental impacts of economic activity and create a more sustainable and resilient economy.
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